56% of S'pore residents find homes cramped, but 40% still hold onto useless things: Survey

HDB flats in Toa Payoh, taken on May 7, 2014. -- ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG
HDB flats in Toa Payoh, taken on May 7, 2014. -- ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

SINGAPORE - Do you gripe about cramped living spaces, but still keep broken television sets, clothes that have not been worn in years in your home?

A survey of 1,000 people living here has found that more than half of them, or 56 per cent, thought their homes were too cramped, but almost 40 per cent hold on to things they no longer use.

The survey, commissioned by self storage operator Extra Space, polled 1,000 respondents who are aged between 25 and 65, and live in housing types ranging from one-room Housing Board flats to condominium apartments and landed homes.Click here for larger image

Chief executive of Extra Space Self Storage Asia, Mr Kenneth Worsdale, said in a statement released on Thursday that "people living in Singapore could potentially be harbouring up to the equivalent of a spare room in their homes without knowing it".

The survey also found that old photos, gifts, keepsake items and memorabilia were the most hoarded items at home, with 63 per cent of respondents saying they still keep those. Unworn clothes came in second, at 49 per cent, and old paperwork and school notes were third at 47 per cent.

More than a third of those polled also said some of the items kept have not been used in the past three years, with seven in 10 having a room meant just to store junk. More than 60 per cent have also never tried decluttering their homes.

Extra Space said it had commissioned the survey to understand the space constraints in a typical household.

"The accumulation of belongings for the average family comes at a higher cost than most people think and our ambition is to encourage every family in Singapore to live in a more positive, less cluttered environment," said Mr Worsdale.

A large majority - 88 per cent of those surveyed - said they were bothered by the clutter at home, but less than half of them are prepared to declutter their living spaces.

Apart from the junk room, the bedrooms, kitchen, and balcony were the top three places where people tend to hoard stuff.